Life after the alternative schemes

Four years ago mention the name of any of the many alternative schemes and some people would be grinning ear to ear as they boast of the high yields they received from what was considered a god sent. People claimed to have bought their cars and house; an achievement they would only dream of had they gone through the formal financial system.

Many sold their houses, land, vehicles and other personal items and deposited the proceeds in these so called investment schemes. Others dumped their redundancy payments and pension returns in the schemes with the intention that they would double the amounts in a relatively short time. A monthly interest rate of up to 20% is surely nothing to sneeze at. While some cream of the whopping interest, others rolled over the interest on a monthly basis.

In the mix was the Financial Services Commission (FSC) like a voice crying in the wilderness “Check before you invest”. In many instances the cries were ignored as people felt that the FSC was siding with the banks and was just plain “bad mind”. As people experienced tremendous financial windfalls, the word spread and a myriad of little and medium sized schemes sprung up all over the island. Yes this was the life…… finally for the “little man”.

 Then the FSC flexed its regulatory muscles, panic set in and like Humpty Dumpty, one of the major Unregistered Financial Organisation (UFO) had a great fall …and the rest as they say is, history.

So how are you doing one to two years after the crash? Are you in plus or minus? The truth is many persons are in the minus as the house money gone, the car money gone, the redundancy money gone, the pension money gone; not to mention the money you borrow from the bank.

But what lessons can be learned from this experience? Those who looked on and watched while their relatives and neighbours jumped for joy every month as they collect their big cheques are saying to them “ A good, it serve unno right, unno did  too licky licky”

If you were a victim of one of the failed Unregistered Financial Organizations (UFO’s) the following tips would be helpful

  • Accept the reality that the funds are gone. The sooner you put the occurrence behind you, the quicker you are able to move on with your life
  • Learn from the experience; don’t jump into another scheme no matter how tempting the returns are. Be strong enough to walk away. Tell yourself once bitten twice shy
  • Don’t beat up on yourself and say “If I did know”. Sit with a financial advisor and work out how you are going to get back on your feet again. It may mean starting a business. Talk with the Jamaica Business Development Centre and other such agencies
  • Work out a re-payment plan with your creditors and remain faithful to your financial obligation
  • Take full responsibility for your actions and don’t blame the individual who might have encouraged you to invest in the unregistered scheme. No one held a gun at your head. Be mature and deal with the issue like a grown adult. Cry if it will help to ease the pain but don’t worry ,be happy
  • Tell your self “I am down but I am not out. I will bounce back from this situation” So just rewind and come again.

If you happen to find yourself with some extra cash and you want to invest it, bear in mind the following tips advanced by the FSC

1. Don’t be pressured into making an investment decision.
2. Get advice from a qualified, independent professional.
3. Get written information about the investment before you decide.
4. Keep records and monitor your investment.
5. Investigate before you invest.
6. Choose your dealers and advisors carefully.
7. Determine your objectives and risk tolerance before building your portfolio.
8. If a problem arises, act quickly.
9. Don’t rely too much on past performance.
10. Securities sold by companies must be registered by the FSC.

About the writer:
Wayne A. Powell is a Relationship Counsellor. He operates an Online counselling website and blog which provides a convenient way for both client and therapist to engage with each other from home or office at a time that is expedient to them.You can email him at: [email protected]